Your Excellency Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana,
Your Excellencies High Commissioners of both South Africa and Botswana,
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Members of the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for joining us on the conclusion of what has been a successful and highly productive South Africa – Botswana Business Roundtable.
I would like to thank His Excellency President Masisi for the warm reception given to me and my delegation.
The delegation comprises government Ministers and Deputy Ministers, representatives of our state-owned companies and financial institutions, and leaders from the South African business community.
It has been 28 years since South Africa and Botswana established formal diplomatic ties.
Even as our bilateral relations have grown stronger over the years, we want to see far greater levels of trade and investment between our two countries.
As we noted earlier, South Africa’s foreign direct investment stock in Botswana reached $5.1 billion last year.
There have been important investments by Botswana in South Africa.
Between 2003 and 2021, there were nine such FDI projects, which attracted capital investment of R3.9 billion and led to the creation of over 2,000 jobs.
In today’s discussion we got to hear the perspective of members of the Botswana business community on doing business in South Africa.
This included representatives from companies that already have a presence in South Africa, and it has been refreshing to hear of their optimism about expanding their businesses in South Africa.
The South African business delegation includes representatives from a wide range of sectors including pharmaceuticals, automotive, manufacturing, agriculture and others.
Like all countries in the region and indeed the continent and the world, our economy was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have affirmed that deepening intra-African trade and investment, and taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area, can hasten an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery for the region and for our continent.
His Excellency President Masisi and I agreed that we need to encourage business in our respective countries to invest in catalytic development projects, particularly infrastructure.
It has been pleasing to have representatives of our respective state-owned companies share their perspectives on the importance of infrastructure development to our common industrialisation efforts.
As South Africa we reaffirmed our commitment to supporting our fellow countries on the continent, including Botswana, to reach their industrialisation goals.
This can be done through strategic investments into other parts of the continent by our companies, financial institutions and state-owned companies.
A major point of discussion today was around alignment towards a common plan of action by the Southern African Customs Union, of which Botswana and South Africa are members, for the operationalisation of the AfCFTA.
We expressed confidence at the work being done around creating industrial value chains in SACU, which would have great benefits for our respective economies.
We see great potential in leather and leather products, fresh produce, meat and meat products, textiles, clothing, cosmetics and essential oils.
As Botswana and South Africa, we have agreed that our respective economies stand to gain substantially from the development of these value chains.
This Business Roundtable has been a good starting point for us to begin strategising and aligning our efforts in pursuit of common prosperity, greater reciprocal trade and much higher levels of investment.
I am extremely pleased it has gone well and we look forward to the reports of our respective officials on the progress of the various initiatives we have agreed on today.
I thank you.
Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa